We are continuing the discussion on what I call The Abundant Heart. Each of these studies are built upon the foundation laid in the preceding lessons. So if you missed any of the previous posts, go back and read those first.
Last week, we talked about fear. We also talked about the words we speak and the power they can have in our lives. We showed you from the work how Jesus spoke to the fig tree and cursed it by speaking words of death. I believe Jesus could have just as easily spoke life to that tree, but instead chose to speak negatively in order to make a point upon the hearts of his disciples. We also talked about how fear works using Job as an example. Lastly, we brought out how fear is really based upon our inability to trust God in a particular area. It’s really a faulty relationship with Him. Today, we are going to continue looking at this difficult subject.
Let’s take a look at the book of I Samuel, chapter 17. You should read this chapter in its entirety if you haven’t already.
The Philistine came to make war with Israel. The Philistines were arrayed on one mountain and the Israelites were arrayed on another mountain with a valley separating them both. Then the Philistines sent out their champion, Goliath, who stood about 9′ 9″ tall. Goliath stood in the valley and called out to the Israelites. Let’s take a look at what he had to say.
Look at verses 8-11.
1Samuel 17:8 And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? Choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together. When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.
The first thing I want you to see is who was defining the battle. Who was setting the rules of engagement here? Goliath and the Philistines are. Can you see the reason? Look again at verse 11:
When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.
The Israelites were allowing the battle to be defined for them by the Philistines because of FEAR. Notice, it doesn’t say that the Israelites were intimidated, it says they were GREATLY AFRAID. Afraid of one man, a giant named Goliath. Because in their hearts, the one, defined the many. Fear does this. Does the concept of fear associated with giants have a familiar ring to it?
Turn with me to Numbers 13:31-33
A few verses prior to this, we read how God wanted Moses to send out men to check out the promised land. They were gone for forty days. When they returned, they gave a report on what they saw. You should read the entire chapter for yourself. Caleb had just finished saying they should go at once to possess the land. But others who also saw the land had this to say:
Numbers 13:31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
Look at the image this placed within the hearts of these men… Grasshopper. “We were in our OWN sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”
Remember Proverbs 4:23? If not, go back and review the first post on The Abundant Heart.
Pro 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Your heart is to be guarded like a bank vault. Deposits are made. What goes in is what comes out. These are the issuances or withdrawals. Can you guess what was just deposited into the hearts of the entire congregation? FEAR.
The second thing I want you to notice is the absence of the Lord in this conversation. It’s all about the men of great stature, the giants and the land that eateth up the inhabitants. They had been delivered from the land of Egypt with great signs and wonders. A pillar of fire at night, a cloud by day and even the parting of the Red Sea and the utter destruction of the Egyptian army before their eyes. All of that was from another time. What mattered “now” were those giants. God? Who’s that? We’ve got giants! Fear does that, it completely negates your faith. It lifts itself above all else, even the Most High God.
Now their fears were just deposited into the hearts of the people. Look what happened.
Numbers 14:1 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? Were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.
Remember Luke 6:45
Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
Fear was abundant in their hearts and their mouths were speaking nothing but that fear.
Now let’s compare what we just read with what Joshua and Caleb said about the same things.
Numbers 14:6-9 And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.
Look at the difference. One sees the land as eating its inhabitants. The other sees the land flowing with milk and honey. One sees nothing but big men. Men of great stature. Giants, the sons of Anak which come of the giants. The other sees the Lord and what HE will do. One sees themselves as just grasshoppers. The other sees themselves as possessors of the promise of God. One sees the giants as not needing any defense. The other sees that their defense took off and has left them defenseless AND “the Lord is with us.”
Why is this? They both saw the same land. What was the difference? Verse 24 holds the key.
Numbers 14:24 But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.
God is speaking about Caleb and look what he says about him: ” because he had another spirit with him.” Let that sink in for a moment…”another spirit.”
You know, if I were to ask you, “Would you like this brand of car or another brand?,” then you know I have a least two different brands to show you. If you have “another” of anything, then by definition, you have at least two different ones (in this context). Why is this important? Look at what God said again: ” because he had another spirit with him.” You see, within the group sent to spy out the land, there were two sub-groups. There were Joshua and Caleb who came back pumped up and ready to go. Totally in faith, believing what God had said. Then you have the other guys. All they saw were giants and certain death. They had another spirit… a spirit of FEAR. A spirit of fear blinds you. It is constantly speaking. Giants, giants, we’re all going to die. We don’t stand a chance, etc, etc, etc. The presence of the Lord doesn’t matter. Logic doesn’t matter. All that matters is that fear.
2Timothy_1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
You see, if you have a spirit of fear, you have no power, no love and you will ultimately lack a sound mind. Why is that? Because fear has torment.
1John_4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
When you are in fear, you are really hiding an area of your heart from God and saying I don’t trust you in this. Instead, you trust in your fear and give your obedience to it rather than God. You can see this in Genesis 3:8-10: And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
Now, there was a lot more going on here than just the fear. But we are focused on the fear aspects. He and God had walked in the garden in cool of the day many, many times. He had always been naked. Yet he feared the one who created him. The one who had him name every creature in order to see that none were suitable as a mate. This creator, who was a loving father and had always loved him, was now someone to be feared. God hadn’t changed. He was still the same as always. Adam had changed and now put his trust in fear instead of the one who had always loved and protected him. This caused him to hide. This is exactly what we do when we are in fear. We hide that area from Him, because we really don’t trust Him with that.
Is there an area in your own life that you are hiding from him? Are you dealing with any fear? Perhaps now is a good time to discuss that with Him. We’ll finish up the segment on fear next time on The Established Heart. Until then, read I Samuel 17 again.